Excessive levels of unbalance in rotating machinery continue to contribute to machine downtime and unscheduled and costly maintenance actions. Whilst unbalance as a rotordynamic fault has been studied in great detail during the last century, the localization of unbalance within a complex rotating machine is today often performed in practice using little more than ‘rules of thumb’. In this work, localizing excessive unbalance has been studied from an experimental perspective through the use of two rotordynamic test rigs fitted with multiple disks. Sub-synchronous non-linear features in the frequency domain have been identified and studied as a method of aiding the localization of unbalance faults, particularly in situations where sensor placement options are limited. The results of the study are discussed from the perspective of next-generation Integrated Vehicle Health Management (IVHM) systems for rotating machines.

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